35 - Flightless Bird, American Mouth

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April 28, 1478

Florence, Italy

Catherine sighed as she turned, still half-asleep. She felt a soft surface beneath her and grasped at it lightly. It was comfy, certainly, and the softer thing beneath her was even better. She nuzzled her face into it as she rolled to her belly. The blanket on her shifted with the movement, keeping her warm. She was quite cozy, actually, although she felt tired, too—very tired. Almost exhausted, and now that she was more awake she felt a slight ache all around, with the worst in her left arm. That gave her pause. She opened her eyes then, and there was a pillow where her face was planted. She leaned slightly to the left, but then hissed and tuned the other way. She frowned, looking over at her limb, and once her sleeve was rolled up, she found the wound, covered in a wrap with a light blood stain that had seeped through some time ago. She touched at it carefully, but even that was enough to elicit a bit of pain—nothing serious, but she felt it.

The redhead looked around the room then, and realized it was Leonardo's—the guest one. The one she'd been using for the past few days. She didn't recall getting here, but she got the answer to her unspoken question soon enough when she looked to the corner of the room and saw a sight that made her heart skip a beat: Ezio. He was sleeping, his body slumped to one side of his chair as he leaned on the arm. His legs were splayed out and his hair loose, sprawled out on his face with his ponytail over his shoulder. He looked tired with a few bags under his eyes, and she could see some stains of blood and tears in his shirt—no doubt from the battle. He held a rag in his hand, but it was clear of blood, yet had left a damp spot on his pants where it hovered over. He must have fallen asleep—doing what, though? What was he doing here? What was she doing here?

More questions came as she realized her shirt was not her own. It was a size too big, and smelled like—well, someone else. She didn't dare say who although she knew exactly who, which made her flush. At least the pants were definitely hers, and fit her just right. Still, she had the realization that her normal clothes had been taken and she'd been changed, and couldn't help wondering if Ezio had been the one to do it. She quickly shook it away, although her cheeks had already gone scarlet at the thought of him seeing her bare, even if it was to help. He wouldn't have done that—not unless there was no other way, but they had allies. That, and he didn't have the skillset to take care of a wound to the extent it was done—she could feel stitches there—so someone else would have tended to the wound and dressed it, and probably dressed her. A maid probably. Annetta preferably. Hopefully.

A sharp breath caused her to jump, and her head turned to find Ezio suddenly up, looking around blearily; still waking up. He looked down to the rag in his lap, mumbled something about needing to soak it again, and then looked up. Immediately, his eyes went wide, and they both stared at one another like deer in headlights.

"Uh," she began after a few moments, grasping at the sheets as her embarrassment made her heart race more. That was all she got out, though, before the young man stood up and raced over. He had his hands up, as if about to touch her, but then pulled back at the last moment and instead sat down on the edge of the bed, grinning.

"You're awake! How do you feel?" he inquired, motioning to her arm.

She flushed a little, touching at it slightly, "It stings, but it's not bad. I feel... um... tired. I think? What—what happened? How did...?"

Ezio chuckled, reaching over to touch her head, pushing her bangs out of the way. She flushed a bit more at that, but he just smiled and nodded.

"You had a fever when I found you at Lorenzo's, but you are much better now. The doctor said it was due to your injuries, but that you would be alright, and here you are! It took longer than I would have liked—you were in and out of consciousness quite a bit," he hummed, getting a puzzled frown from her. It grew into a raised brow when Ezio suddenly frowned, too, and looked at her sternly. "Catherine, why did you leave? I told you not to..."

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